|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
DAVIDSON COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE "DOCTOR SHOPPING"
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Davidson County woman has been arrested for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for similar controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department today announced the arrest of Nonnie Kasben, 35, of Antioch. Kasben is charged with three instances of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.” An indictment says she failed to disclose to her doctor that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the painkillers hydrocodone and morphine as well as a time-released version of morphine, along with the anti anxiety medication alprazolam and carisoprodol, a muscle relaxor. TennCare paid for the office visits, the prescription drugs, or both.
"The ‘doctor shopping’ law passed by the Legislature is a valuable tool in cracking down on people who are abusing the program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Physicians across the state have applauded this new law and our efforts to stop people from doing this and are helping us develop these cases.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson, III will be prosecuting this case.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $165 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 920 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."